Return of rookie Golladay frees up Lions offense

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Kenny Golladay is back on the field and making an impact.

Despite being held to just 11 snaps Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Golladay made the most of his time, reeling in back-to-back catches of 14 and 50 yards to set the Lions up in the red zone.

Two plays later, Theo Riddick found himself in the end zone and the Lions tied the game at 24.

Those proved to be Golladay’s only two catches of the day, but they were big.

“It was good to get him back,” Jim Caldwell said. “It’s always good when you got a guy who’s that big, that fast, that can do a lot of different things for you.”

Golladay made a splash in his debut in Week 1, accounting for two touchdowns and a couple of highlight-reel plays that had Lions fans expecting big things from the rookie.

Then came a couple of subpar performances the next two weeks, as Golladay hauled in just three receptions for 33 yards in weeks two and three.

That was followed by a nagging hamstring injury that sidelined the third-round pick for the next five games.

“I know he had worked extremely hard to get back,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “He hasn’t played a whole lot of football with us. But the times he’s been out there, he’s done a nice job.”

Golladay has the potential to make a difference for the Lions, especially downfield and in the red zone. His size (6-foot-4, 213 pounds) makes him a tough match up. He’ll routinely match up with the second or third best cover men from opposing defenses with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones drawing a lot of attention.

“He brings something to the table that’s hard to match,” Tate said. “He has speed, leaping ability, and he’s got them young legs. He comes off injury and makes a big play for us. That’s the Kenny we all saw in camp, and we’re happy to have him back.”

Meeting with reporters this week, Caldwell wouldn’t tip his hand as to what kind of playing time Golladay would see going forward as he eases himself back from injury.

“I certainly don’t want to talk to you about snap counts,” Caldwell said. “That’s strategic, so we’ll keep that in house.”

Nevertheless, the Bears are prepared for a three-pronged attack from the Lions on Sunday.

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.